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Who's Rebecca?
June 8, 2015, by Rebecca Jackson
Curious about our founder?

Several friends, clients, and students have requested that I share my own health and fitness trials and tribulations, and because of those people, today, I am going to do that. I have not always been thin. I have, however, always been concerned and interested in health and fitness.

In my pre-teen years, I joined my first gym. I wasn't the most athletic person. In fact, I tried out for both volley ball and cheerleading and didn't make either team. I knew that I needed to be physically active, and started lifting weights at the gym. I got hooked, and before I knew it, my addiction to fitness was formed.

Around the same time, when I was in the 7th grade, I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian (no meat or fish, but eggs and dairy are okay). I wasn't the bad type of vegetarian who thinks that no meat = cupcakes and potato chips. I loved vegetables. I didn't watch what I ate, but I did worry about it. I developed an unhealthy relationship with food. It was easy to. What did I really understand about food? Although I maintained a relatively thin figure, I would yo-yo between eating comfortably and eating overly obsessed about eating correctly, so frightened that I didn't look thin enough. This behavior continued through college.

Unfortunately, I was put on a medication at the end of my sophomore year that caused me to gain weight. After about 8 months of steady weight gain, I remember getting on the scale and being mortified. I was almost 50 lbs more than I had ever weighed. I immediately went off the medication and started working out even more. If I put the weight on so quickly, wouldn't it come off that quickly? It was at that time that I started getting into group fitness (how fun!). I was able to lose some of the weight from my increase in activity…focusing on two days of weight training and three days of cardio classes, but I was still not where I wanted to be. I maybe lost 10 lbs.

My relationship with food got worse. I even tried just eating vegetables and grapefruit for a period of time (bad idea). Worst of all, I felt horrible all the time. I hated looking in the mirror. I hated getting dressed or ready to go out with friends because the clothes never fit the way they used to. I was wearing pants and tops that were bigger than I had ever needed to wear, and they still didn't fit right.

I started running my senior year (go New Year's resolutions!) and was able to shed about 20 of the pounds. I got to a point that summer where I was running 6 miles a day which felt amazing. I wasn't giving myself or my body a break though and suffered an overuse injury in my foot that I still battle with six years later. That injury crushed my soul. I was still 20 lbs over what I used to be, and still so unhappy with myself. I don't have any photos from when I was heavier because I got rid of them in an effort to feel better.

Finally, I started tracking my calories. I used the livestrong app and lost another 10 lbs by dieting. I learned a lot about what I thought were "healthy meals" and how to actually make healthy meals. I taught myself various tricks to save calories here and there, and self-taught myself better meal planning for a busy workweek. I felt better. I still had 10 lbs to lose, but I didn't anticipate being able to lose any more weight. I had worked so hard at losing it for 3 years; I didn't realize I could lose anymore. I accepted my gain, and threw out all of my old "skinny" clothes.

Little did I know, a move to the Pacific Northwest in an active and health conscious city, would help me shed the last 10lbs. Giant hills, making efforts to walk or bike when possible, and finally deciding to add meat into my diet and cut whole grains out (for the most part), got me to my goal. Four years. I struggled. I felt defeated. I felt stuck. I gave up.

What keeps me going now? To be perfectly honest, fear. I don't want to be there again. I won't be there again. Do I worry about it? Occasionally, but for the most part, I just make sure to eat foods that give me fuel and sweat in every workout.

Have fun & Be Active!
Rebecca Jackson
Written by:

Rebecca Jackson
Rebecca is the Founder of Build It For Life.

Rebecca Jackson is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor. She is a working mom who believes that exercise should be part of everyday living. She received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington.